Disgruntled parents and pupils locked the gates at Bloekombos Secondary in Kraaifontein in protest against overcrowding at the school. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Parents in Kraaifontein are lobbying the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) for more money to build schools as the problem of chronic overcrowding continues at Bloekombos Secondary School.

Fed up with the situation, some parents locked the school gates on Wednesday while pupils protested on the side of the road outside the school, demanding that another school be built in the area.

The parents said the school had a capacity for 1 200 learners but that more than 2 000 were enrolled.

Community leader Linda Phitho said the community and the school governing body had tried to engage with the department and informed them of the pressure and the difficulty whereby one teacher must educate 81 learners, but they were ignored.

He said this had been the situation for five years.

Education MEC Debbie Schäfer’s spokesperson, Jessica Shelver, said they were aware of the “illegal protest” action and said they were calling on the police to restore order in the Bloekombos community.

“We also urge the police to arrest and prosecute those involved, whether they are principals, teachers or parents, as they are breaking the law. “We are informed that two houses have reportedly been burnt,” Shelver said.

She said they had been heard that around 5 000 people were taking part in the protest action.

“The WCED will not be giving in to the demands of the principal and school governing body of Bloekombos Secondary as they acted against the instruction of the district and admitted far more learners to the school than the school could accommodate, despite the school already being at full capacity.”

Shelver said that in January the WCED had opened a new school nearby that was currently under- utilised and could accommodate the pupils.

“They are now demanding a new school and we will not be negotiating or considering their demands.”

Shelver said that if the community continued to shut down the school “we will be forced to consider legal options and disciplinary action against those involved”.


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Cape Argus